Guide To Oil Cleansing Method Recipes: Clean Your Face With Oil! [2023 Update]

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Never have I ever…washed my face with oil. And that’s a big fat lie. I have cleaned my face with oil many times and I love it. So today, I’ll tell you all about it!

Tell me, have you heard of the oil cleansing method before? Do you want to use oil to clean your face? I believe you should at least give it a try. At least for a week or two. And a steamy washcloth is your new best friend!

Because…my skin loves it and yours might too! Don’t worry, I give you all the information on what oils to use, and oil cleansing method recipes for your skin type!

Ready to get glowing?

oil cleansing method

I know, I know. Now you’re thinking…but Kat, how can oil be cleansing? What on earth are you talking about?

Let me tell you; if you weren’t skeptical, I’d be surprised. I was too. That’s the only reason why it took me so long to even try it. After all, I have combination skin; that eternal T can be fatal with wrong ingredients. Then I’d have half of my face looking porcelain beauty doll, and the other one covered in volcanic brutal cystic acne eruption that would last for weeks.

No, thank you!

The oil doesn’t cleanse, oil causes acne and clogs pores, right? Well, to some extent you’re right. But the Internet is raving about the oil cleansing method and that’s why we’re talking about it too. Let’s have a look what the fuss is all about (if you already know, check the oil cleansing method recipes below!).

What is the oil cleansing method?

Oil cleansing method or OCM in short means covering your face in oil to cleanse your skin. You can benefit from this method in the long run, many people swear by it and praise it to the stars.

Whether you believe it or not, the OCM helps you clear your skin, heal it, and moisturize it.

How come?

Well, unlike your regular cleansers that leave your skin dry and stripped of natural oils, the OCM can help remove impurities, dissolve them, and keep the outer skin barrier nourished and functioning properly. That’s why your skin doesn’t produce more oil than necessary. At the same time, it doesn’t become dry, flaky, and irritated.

To achieve that, you need to get the right oil for your skin type, and we’ll talk about that below. Because you can help your skin to find balance with an oil that suits your needs and your skin type. You’ll be able to return your skin to its natural state and the best part about it?

No harsh chemicals that would further damage your skin.

No oil stripping that would cause more oil buildup.

Sounds good?

How does the oil cleansing method work?

The oil cleansing method works on the principle that oil dissolves oil.

According to this website, acne, pimples, blackheads, zits, and other undesired facial irregularities are not primarily caused by oils, but are a result of hormones, poor diet, bacteria, and dead skin cells.  What’s more, they explain:

The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and found itself stuck in your pores. The steam will open your pores, allowing the oil to be easily removed. Should you need it, the smallest drop of the same oil formula patted over damp skin will provide the necessary lubrication to keep your skin from over-compensating in oil production.

The oil cleansing method requires two different carrier oils. While castor oil is normally a must in most oil cleansing method recipes, we’ll have a look at how you can substitute it with other carrier oils. Castor oil on its own is a drying oil and it will eventually draw too much moisture from your skin if you use too much. It’s great in small amounts though!

The second oil (or two) depends only on your skin type. I’ll talk about that in a minute.

Whatever oil you choose, make sure to get unrefined, cold-pressed oils of high-quality. The higher the quality, the more nutrients, antioxidants, and benefits for your skin! On the other hand, poor quality oils can cause breakouts or do absolutely nothing for your skin (apart from hugging it and sitting on your face) since they’re not always pure, unrefined, and cold-pressed. Think of it this way: would you slather dirt cheap canola oil for frying on your face?

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Why should you try oil cleansing?

Apart from the fact that it’s cleansing and natural and all that you already know, OCM is also great for the following:

  • it provides a deeper, more thorough skin cleanse than a classic face wash, water, cotton pad and toner (maybe not as good as clay facial masks 🙂
  • it’s gentle for the skin, it doesn’t strip it of natural oils
  • it’s exfoliating in a way when you rub your face with a warm cloth
  • boosts circulation, which is always cool since that means fewer toxins and more oxygen in the skin cells
  • improves absorption of any other product you choose to use after the cleansing process

Is oil cleansing good for acne?

It is. There are a lot of happy users that support this claim, loving their oil-based facial cleanser. Additionally, claims the following:

Fact: Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principles of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: Other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.

Which oils are best for oil cleansing method?

There are a few oils you can use. Actually, more than just a few! Before we get to that list, I have to tell you what oils to stay away from in order not to mess us your skin. It’s actually two of the most common oils we use on a daily basis. Crunchy Betty has done her research and suggests to all that we just skip these two:

  • Coconut oil because it’s comedogenic
  • Olive oil because apparently those EVOOs that claim to be all the extra, and special, and cold-pressed, and unrefined are actually poor quality oils (in many cases).

There are five different skin types, so you should reconsider and adjust the oils based on that:

  • Normal
  • Acne-prone
  • Dry
  • Combination
  • Oily

Skin types: oils recommended

Since we all have different skin types, have a look at the list below. For the best oil cleansing method effects, I’d recommend the use of the oils based on your skin type. Test it and try it until you get the desired ratio, even though I’ll give you more idea on ideal oil ratios below.

Oily skin

Since oily skin has been linked with a lack of linoleic acid, an ideal oil for your skin type would be a light oil rich in linoleic acid.

Your skin is oily when it produces too much sebum, which means that it feels greasy and looks shiny. You’re probably prone to acne, so stick to non-comedogenic oils in your skincare regimen.

My personal favorite is rosehip seed oil for a while now. Read more about it here!

Dry skin

For the dry skin, you’re looking for a nourishing oil that will soothe itchy, irritated skin. These oils are a bit richer than the ones for oily skin, and you’re looking for high oleic acid content.

Why oleic? Oils that are high in oleic acid are normally heavier and richer they lock in moisture and are recommended for dry skin, but definitely not for acne-prone skin and oily skin.

These oils can reduce inflammation, boosts antioxidant properties, promote the healing process of the skin.

Combination skin

You can easily get a more balanced oil, that’s got approximately equal amounts of linoleic and oleic acids. My personal favorites in a facial cleanser include rosehip oil and argan oil.

Aging skin

For aging skin, make sure to get the oils that are rich in antioxidants and boost collagen and elasticity. These oils minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and hydrate your skin at the same time.

What about castor oil?

Okay, castor oil is sort-of a must in the oil cleansing method routine. But then again it’s not. While it’s the base oil you add other ingredients too, it is very drying. That’s why it just may not work for you. And you’ve got nothing to stress about. You can easily substitute it with another oil, such as:

  • Hazelnut oil
  • Grapeseed, sweet almond oil
  • Grapeseed, apricot kernel oil
  • Avocado oil

And the(in)famous jojoba oil?

Jojoba oil can be used as a base oil for the oil cleansing method as well, but it can cause breakouts for some people. While it’s not usually listed as comedogenic, it sometimes can be (who can tell, right?).

In case you have any issues with it, stop using it. Or better, to avoid any potential breakouts (if your skin is extra prone to that), use a different oil in the first place instead. I love jojoba and so does my skin, but then again, we’re all different!

oil cleansing method recipes

Essential oils to use in your oil cleansing method

Essential oils can add an extra kick of whatever they promote to your oil cleansing blend. Don’t go overboard; I’d recommend you use 4 drops essential oil per 1 TBSP of carrier oil. 

Essential oils for cleansing and skin detox

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Oregano
  • Wild Orange

Essential oils for acne

  • Lavender
  • Tea tree
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Essential oils for oily skin

  • Ylang-ylang
  • Geranium
  • Lemon
  • Neroli

Essential oils for normal skin

  • Geranium
  • German Chamomile
  • Neroli
  • Frankincense

Essential oils for combination skin

  • Bergamot
  • Rosemary
  • Rose
  • Frankincense
  • Orange

Essential oils for dry skin

  • Patchouli
  • Myrrh
  • Cedarwood
  • Rose
  • Helichrysum (for very dry skin)
  • Sandalwood (for very dry skin)

Essential oils that brighten the skin

  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemongrass
  • Sandalwood
  • Geranium

Anti-aging essential oils

  • Geranium
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Rose
  • Lavender

Oil cleansing method recipes and blends: make your own oil cleanser

The following blends are measured to make up about 1 oz bottle (which makes about 6 TSP). You can always double the amount for the facial cleanser, the measures are here as a base point that can help you orientate. In any case, start out with small batches (teaspoons) and adjust with time, if needed.

OCM for Oily Skin

  • 30% castor oil (2 TSP)
  • 70% carrier oil (4 TSP)

Essential oils to use: 3 drops geranium EO

OCM for Acne-Prone Skin

  • 20% castor oil (1 TSP)
  • 80% carrier oil (5 TSP)

Essential oils to use: 3 drops lavender EO

OCM for Dry Skin

  • 10% castor oil (0.5 TSP): if you’re not a fan of castor oil and you don’t trust it, feel free to substitute castor with hazelnut oil instead.
  • 90% carrier oil (top up with a carrier oil)

Essential oils to use: 3 drops patchouli EO

OCM for Very Dry Skin

For this skin type, omit castor oil altogether. Think only rich and nourishing oils; you may want to consider using plant butters, such as shea, mango, and cocoa butter. I’d skip coconut oil as it is comedogenic and it may clog your pores!

  • 100% carrier oil: make a blend of your favorite carrier oils. You can easily go for the rule of thirds: 1/3 avocado oil, 1/3 hazelnut oil, and 1/3 argan oil)

Essential oils to use: 2 drops helichrysum EO

OCM for Combination Skin

  • 20% castor oil (1 TSP)
  • 80% carrier oil (5 TSP)

Essential oils to use: 3 drops orange EO

OCM for Normal Skin

  • 50% castor oil (3 TSP)
  • 50% carrier oil (3 TSP)

Essential oils to use: 3 drops Roman chamomile EO

OCM for Aging Skin

  • 10% castor oil (0.5 TSP)
  • 90% carrier oil (you can easily blend the best anti-aging oils, such as 50% rosehip seed oil + 40% argan oil)

Essential oils to use: 3 drops geranium EO

My favorite oil cleansing blend

At the moment, I’m loving my easy hemp seed oil face wash that actually washes off with water and leaves the skin smooth and soft. If you don’t like the greasy residue the OCM may leave on your skin, I suggest you try out the recipe!

Pros and cons of oil cleansing method

Natural way to cleanse your skin

Helps with acne

No harsh chemicals

Doesn’t strip away the natural oils of your skin

Promotes glowing skin

Can be used as a makeup remover

Works for every skin type

It may not work for everyone

There’s a possible adjustment period for your skin (up to a few weeks)

Some oils may be more expensive than the usual cleanser (depends on an oil)

It takes some time to figure out the proper oil ratio

How do you oil cleanse?

Have a look at how you can do the oil cleansing in 5 easy steps:

  1. Make a blend that suits your skin type
  2. Massage the oil onto dry skin. A little oil goes a long way! With gentle and small circular motions, massage the oil all over your face for about a minute or two
  3. Soak a clean washcloth in warm water. Squeeze well and cover your face with it for a few minutes to open the pores. This way, you’ll help your skin to remove the impurities and dirt
  4. Rinse the washcloth in warm water and wipe your face with it gently
  5. Repeat the process until your face is soft and clean. It shouldn’t feel greasy and oily. Make sure to GENTLY wipe your face and not scrub it, as the skin is sensitive at this point
  6. After you feel fresh, clean, and glowing, you have two options: either apply a bit of night serum (some do, I never really feel the need) to additionally moisturize. Option number two is hydrate with rose hydrosol (click here for the facial toner recipe)

How often do you oil cleanse?

Take your time. Start with the oil cleansing method once a week. Slowly, as your skin gets adjusted to the new cleansing process you can make the OCM a more regular thing, think two to three times a week.

Some people prefer to use the OCM every day. You can give it a try, but I’d recommend sticking to a few times a week since it provides a deep cleanse.

Tips on OCM:

  1. Best to do the oil cleansing method before bed
  2. When using citrus essential oils, they can be phototoxic. Use them only in the evening. You want to avoid any sun exposure otherwise these essential oils can damage your skin.
  3. Once a day is enough to oil cleanse, depending on how dirty your skin is. I never use it in the morning, as I don’t feel the need (I exfoliate then). If your skin feels dry, use it once daily tops!
  4. When blending, start with small batches; 1 TSP of each oil until you figure out what your skin wants. Try and test any blend you make for at least two weeks to get the best idea about the oil-skin compatibility.
  5. There are a few different types of bottles to use. The most practical to use is this one, but you can also use one like this or even a pump bottle. While I’m all about glass bottles, plastic may come in more handy in this case (slippery hands, broken glass in the bathroom, and all that)
  6. Add essential oils for an extra kick (or feel free to omit them altogether)
  7. For the first few days, it might seem that your skin is getting worse. Relax, this is normal. It means the cleansing method is working, bringing impurities to the surface.
  8. Your oil ratio probably differs from mine. Remember, castor oil is drying; start with a smaller ratio at first.
  9. Stay away of coconut oil and olive oil in your oil cleansing method. Just, don’t.
  10. Try the oil cleansing method recipes until you get it right. If the oil cleansing method doesn’t work for you at all, don’t stress about it. You’ll find something else that will!

Last thoughts on OCM: a recap

Oil cleansing method can bring great results to your skin. You cleanse it in a completely natural way without any toxins or harsh chemicals that could further damage or irritate your skin. While there are a number of oils you can use to cleanse and shine, there are a few to stay away from as they may cause breakouts: cleansing method coconut oil is just a no-no, and a few others (as you discovered in the article).

Oil cleansing recipes are a test-and-try thing; I’ve provided the list of best oils for the specific skin type, now it’s up to you to get that ideal ratio for yourself.

Happy crafting an don’t forget to…

– Stay Wild!

oil cleansing method recipes

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    1. Can I add vitamin E to the acne prone oil cleanser?
      Also would a rose oil be safe for such skin?

      • Hey Sahar, yes, you can add vitamin E oil to a cleanser (it can be a problem for acne-prone skin only when used in large amounts). You’ll only add a few drops to prevent the carrier oils from going rancid. Rose oil won’t have the same effect; you can add it into the mixture but you still need vitamin E oil for rancidity. Hope this helps!

      • Hey Sahar, you can add a drop of vitamin E to an oil cleanser, it’ll help prolong the shelf life of the product. Regarding rose oil, I have no experience with it. I know that it should be used in incredibly low amounts (I read that max 2% dilution is acceptable) and can cause skin irritation. Make sure to do a test patch before applying it on your skin to check for any potential allergies, etc. So, use it with caution. I wouldn’t add it to an oil cleanser since it’s an expensive oil that would be wiped away from the skin and washed down the drain, but you can whatever you prefer 🙂 Hope this helps, happy crafting!

    2. hi! this resource you put together is amazing! thank you SO much for taking the time to do this for us!

      question : do you have a similar article for face serum ? or do iapply the same knowledge to the serum process ? how about ratios for face serum like castor to hemp seed oil ?

      • Hey Siejhi, thank you for your lovely comment! I’m glad you find the content useful :). Now, I don’t have a recipe for an OCM face serum yet, but you can easily refer to the guidelines in the blog post, where I provide the approximate ratios for oils, based on a skin type. You can change the ratio to your preferences after you see how your skin reacts to it. I have used a mix of castor and hemp seed oil before and my skin loved it, I used the ratio of 30% castor to 70% hemp. Since castor can be drying, feel free to use less of it and more of different carrier oil. Let me know how it works for you! Hope this helps; happy crafting, Kat

    3. Wendy Lara


      Quick question do I need to mix a castor oil with a carrier oil? Or can I just use a carrier oil? For the oil cleansing method to work?

      • Hi,
        you don’t need castor oil for the OCM, but it’s a popular oil to use. I omit it many times and use other carrier oils I have on hand. You can also use just one carrier oil; there’s no real need to blend more together. I would recommend you to mix castor oil with another carrier oil if using, because castor oil is very thick and dry, and it’s difficult to apply it on its own. Hope this helps! Happy crafting 🙂

    4. Melissa

      Hello! I’m so glad I found your post because I recently started using an oil cleanser that I’m almost out of and don’t want to pay another $38 for the bottle (even though it is amazing)! So amazing that I want to recreate it. In addition to castor and sweet almond oils, it also contains argan oil. Would I factor that oil into the carrier oil percentage (I’m going with the recipe for combination skin)? Thank you!!

      • Hey Melissa, thank you! You can add argan oil into the mix; since you’ve already been using it in the oil cleanser from the shop, I don’t see why you couldn’t use here. Just check the label of the original oil to see approximately how much of each oil should you add (the list of ingredients begins with the ingredient used in the highest amount; the last one on the list is normally used in >10g or even >1g). Feel free to report back how did it go! Happy crafting 😀

        • Melissa

          Hello!! I just made my first little batch to mimic my expensive brand I was using…it looks, smells, and feels like the other stuff, so we shall see how it is over time! I used 1 Tbsp of castor oil, 1 Tbsp of argan oil, and 4 Tbsp of sweet almond oil (which I first infused with organic calendula, chamomile, and rosehips). My skin will be so happy!

        • Hi Melissa, I’m thrilled you love it :). The infused oil sounds amazing! Be sure to keep us posted on how it works for you. Thank you for crafting with me 😀

    5. Hi there!!!
      I have been looking into oil cleansing for a few weeks now and I really loved how informative your article was. I do want to get an understanding in regards to mixing oils like the ratios. For instance, let’s say I use Sunflower Seed Oil as the base oil since I do have oily/acne skin and according to your post you said that I would have to use a light oil rich in linoleic acid. For the essentials oils for acne I’m thinking between rosemary, tea tree or lavender and for oily I am not sure which one yet. Like am I able to mix both the oils to do it can be like a 2 in 1 thing and if so what would the ratios be. Or would I have to make two different oils cleanser like one for acne and one for oily skin? Hope I’m not confusing you!!! Thank You!!!

      • Hey Cyd, thank you for your lovely comment :). You can mix as many oils as you want. You don’t have to make two different oil cleansers, you can add all that you mentioned into one. You can use sunflower oil and another carrier oil (hemp seed oil, for instance) as the main blend. Then, you can use a drop of rosemary and lavender EOs, or a drop of tea tree and lavender. You could use all three, but keep in mind that tea tree oil is quite potent and it may irritate your eyes if you use too much. Also, make sure not to overdo it with essential oils; one drop per small bottle (10/30ml) goes a long way! Let me know how the blend works for you and how you decided to mix it together, would love to know! Hope this helps, Kat

    6. Jessica P

      Thank you for this very thorough article! I’ve been oil cleansing over fall, winter, and spring and it has been going well. But once we got into summer I found I needed to alter my formulation to keep my skin happy. So many good suggestions and food for thought as I blend up another batch to hopefully find a good blend for summer. Thank you!

      • Thank you, Jessica, I’m thrilled you found the recipe helpful! What is your favorite blend of oils to use in OCM? Thank you for crafting with me 😀

    7. I have oily acne prone skin and I’m 41. I have rose hip seed oil, hemp, and evening primrose oil and somewhere I read I would need polysorbate 80 to blend the ingredients. (I can not for the life of me find the recipe for it though)… do I need to add any thing and in what quantity do I use them?

      • Hi Nicole! Here’s the thing; if you want to make a facial oil with the carrier oils you mentioned, you don’t need Polysorbate80. This is a solubilizer that helps to improve washing off a product (oil especially) that’s meant to cleanse the skin (in cleansing balms, body scrubs, and even bath bombs). Unless you’re making a facial cleansing oil with that specific purpose (to wash everything off completely), you won’t need it. With the OCM, you need a facial oil and a towel that was rinsed in hot water. Now, I’d suggest adding a vitamin E oil to the blend to prolong the shelf-life of the oil, as some of the oils can be prone to oxidation after a while. Apart from that, you don’t need anything else, really. You can use the oils in any quantity you wish; personally, I’d use 50% hemp, and the rest I’d go for half rosehip and half primrose. Hope this helps!

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